10 minutes | Dec 12, 2018
One Simple Trick To Get More Google Reviews
What you are about to learn could change the course of your online marketing presence. It’s one simple trick to get more Google Reviews for your small business. Some might call it a hack but it’s perfectly legitimate and white-hat. That’s why it’s so valuable to know. We are giving this trick away for free so that small business owners around the United States can compete on Google Maps, especially in the Local 3 Pack. As you may know, a presence on the Local 3 Pack is critical to local lead generation. While more than just the quantity of reviews influence Google Maps rankings, they remain one of the foremost and sought after components to a Local SEO strategy. The Free Advice Review Generator We had a client who fielded a significant number of daily calls in which people were asking for help with a service that he did not specifically provide, but was closely related to his niche. Instead of telling them he couldn’t help, he pointed them to a service he knew of that could. Aside from providing free advice to several people per day, he gained nothing out of it for his business. After consulting with the Nolen Walker team, we urged him to ask nicely for a review after providing said advice. We stressed that asking and demanding are separate things. We told him not to pressure the caller into leaving a review, but to present it as “if you don’t mind.” You are not asking them to write anything unethical. All they have to write is that you helped them find the proper services. After implementing Nolen Walker’s strategy, this client saw their reviews surge quickly. They now dominate Google Maps for their industry. It wasn’t the extra reviews alone that did the job, but they were a central component. If you are a small business who fields calls for advice, you too can take advantage of this cutting-edge review generation technique. Follow these rules: Ask Nicely Don’t Apply Pressure Keep it Ethical The benefits of utilizing this trick are not only short-term but long-term as well. Besides getting the feedback in a form of a Google Review, you also increase the probability of that same person recalling you when they need the precise service you provide. You’ve established something known as brand recall. When you form a personal connection with an individual, they recall your brand when problems arise that you can assist with. So the free advice hack is not just about a single review or even multiple ones, it’s about growing your brand incrementally. It’s about leveraging part of your marketing appeal into increasing its output. All good for SEO. Other Online Review Generation Tactics The other review tactic that can be used effectively is asking your clients in person. There’s something about the personal face to face interaction that lends itself to a higher probability of reviews. Following up with texts and emails is more effective after that personal interaction takes place. People are busy, so they want the review process to be as convenient as possible. You can make it so with a business card that has directions on how to leave the review. You can also invest in a website reviews widget so that they can leave the review directly from your website, and don’t have to find your Google profile (although it isn’t hard to find). People would rather binge watch Netflix than leave you a review, and that won’t change anytime soon. But if they feel you did a great job and then saw you take the initiative to ask in person, they just might take the 5 minutes and leave the feedback. Even 3 out every 10 clients can work wonders for your SEO. Ask In Person Remind Via Email & Text Website Reviews Widget Integration Avoid Black Hat SEO Tactics There’s other review tactics you’ll find online but many of them are what are known as black-hat. It means they are unethical and violate Google’s guidelines. Furthermore they may result in manual penalties issued by Google and completely destroy your online presence! Recovering from this won’t be easy, as your brand will now be tarnished in the eyes of Google. If a tactic mentions anything about financially incentivizing (or providing favors for) the client to give feedback, DON’T DO IT! Avoid these tactics like the plague. We’ve seen companies lose millions because they tried to incentivise reviews. There’s also platforms where you can buy reviews in bulk. These are spam reviews, and it’s plainly obvious by the tone and voice of the feedback. If you’ve ever read reviews on Amazon that seem fake, it’s because they are. Amazon cracked down on that and now only accepts legitimate reviews. Google is even more strict in their reviews policy, so don’t expect to get away with anything unethical. Streamline the Process With Righteous Reviews Nolen Walker clients get a complimentary bonus widget known as Righteous Reviews. It is a native plugin, developed right here at AP, that integrates Google and Facebook reviews directly on your company website. We know that some consumers have a hard time locating the profiles on which they are asked to leave a review. Righteous Reviews eliminates this uncertainty by having it all done through your main website. This way, when you provide clients with a business card and ask for a review, all they’ll have to do is navigate to your website – this should of course be listed on your card – and click on “Review Us.” Using this widget, you can expect to see a more consistent flow of reviews streaming into your Google and Facebook profiles, as long as you’re getting clients regularly and following the protocol of asking them in person. Benefits of Righteous Reviews include: Convenience: Make the process simpler for consumers Integration: Keep everything organized on one place, your company website Volume: Encourage a greater amount of reviews towards your system Nolen Walker does everything possible to give our clients advantages towards ranking. Most times, it is attention to detail that swings a website from the top 5 to the top 3 and beyond. The foundation of your website still rests on design, SEO, and mobile usability, but your online presence as a while expands beyond just your website. That’s why Righteous Reviews is so valuable. It takes one of your greatest digital assets (your website) and integrates it with perhaps your 2nd and 3rd greatest assets (your Google My Business & Facebook pages). As these entities feed off one another, each enhancement to any of them, is an enhancement to all of them. This mutually beneficial relationship between your website and profiles creates the robust online presence that Google prioritizes when ranking companies. If you’d like more information about ranking up your business online, or more details concerning our Righteous Reviews tool, give our team a call at 866-356-8198!
10 minutes | Dec 6, 2018
Web Content Writing: Why it Should Not be a Standalone Service
Most would argue that content is the lifeblood of the SEO industry. Although its most frequently attributed to Google themselves, the origin of the phrase content is king can actually be traced back to Bill Gates in 1996. Google has certainly echoed the sentiment though, seeing that their Steps to a Google-friendly site explicitly states that high quality content on your pages, especially your home page, is the single most important thing you can do. So we definitely get it… content is of extraordinary importance when attempting to rank your business online. But we also know better than to think that content as a standalone service will move the needle at all. Because of Google’s affinity for quality content, many small business owners look for services that will provide content only. Similarly, some marketing firms promote content as a standalone service. In each case, the service will fail to deliver what the client really wants, which is search visibility. It’s prudent to trust a professional’s judgement when investing in marketing, but skepticism is certainly understandable in the SEO world. A legitimate SEO company will tell you that content on its own will not be enough to change the fortunes of your web presence. Here’s what else you need to be successful online in 2019. Design & Coding What’s content without design? It’s HTML text with a default font. Nobody cares to read through these types of pages. In fact, try to find a result on Google page one that is text by itself. Sure, content can mean more than text, but can you find one example of a poorly designed website that ranks on the first page of Google? The reality of content is that it’s only as valuable as its presentation. This is especially true in our increasingly mobile society. If a smartphone user cannot consume content on their iPhone device, what good is it to them? It could be written by a scholar and enhanced with high resolution images, but if it doesn’t fit within a mobile design that is simple to navigate, it will not matter one bit. In summary, here’s how design supports content: Accessibility Consumption Presentation Blogging There’s several different forms of content that exist on the internet today. One of the most appealing ones is blog posts. Yes, Google states that home page content is most important, but research conducted by 3rd parties indicates that blog post quality, length, and frequency, can combine for a major influence on organic search position. Blog posts are a more informal way for users to consume content than a traditional page. Since many blogs are written as topical and instructional, their clicks and engagement rates are much higher. They can also serve as something known as evergreen content. These are posts that people consider a resource to go back to over and again. They often earn links from external websites which increases the page’s authority. In summary, blogging supports content through: Engagement Frequency Informality As You Can See, This Very Post is Published an Internal Blog Using The WordPress CMS. And By Reading it You Become Part of Its Engagement and Ultimate Success Link Building What good is a book that nobody reads? The same logic can be applied to content published online. If nobody sees it, it becomes the sound of a tree falling in an empty forest. The chicken or the egg argument seems to immerse itself into the content visibility discussion every time. The idea from Google and others is that great content will get seen because it will earn links naturally and people will organically come into contact with the most premium writing. Sounds great, but it’s hard to prove whether or not this is accurate. Brands with more resources and more inbound links pointing to their domain, are going to get their content seen more, even if it’s inferior. Sure, writing great blog posts can help you earn links, but you still must pursue exposure on your own. Ways to do this include NAP citations, guest posts, and blogger outreach. In summary, links supports content through: Domain Authority Exposure Visibility Google My Business & Reviews The best kind of content is user-generated content, and that’s exactly what consumers provide when they published feedback on Google, Facebook, Yelp, or elsewhere. Google My Business Is the premier brand platform for small businesses. It’s the module that appears when a user performs a branded search of your company name. It’s also one of the most trusted sources for legitimate reviews, if not the most trusted. A company without a GMB page or without Google reviews, has little chance of improving search visibility, even with the greatest content ever written appearing on their website. That’s the harsh reality of the SEO world. If you run a business, you must act like one online. In summary, reviews support content through: Consumer Trust Google Integration User Generation Social Media The most highly populated channels of content are social media platforms. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or YouTube, they are all brought together for a common cause, content sharing. The content you think of on your website might not be exactly like the content you think of on Facebook or Twitter. But the fact remains, it is all content. Some of it is user-generated (like with reviews) and some is published and syndicated by brands and organizations like your own (yes, even small ones). Think about YouTube as one of the central hubs of content. There is no more appealing content than video which is confirmed by the platforms usage statistics. Thinking about these social channels as opportunities to syndicate content of your own, puts you on the right track to understanding how content works in 2019, and why it relies on other platforms aside from a text editor. In summary, social media supports content through: Diversity Promotion Syndication Ongoing Work Another misnomer about content is that it can be a one time deal. No, you can’t write a website full of content and then ignore the site for the rest of its tenure. Google favors websites that deliver fresh content regularly. So how do you do that? By utilizing some of the concepts discussed throughout this post. Blogging is a great way to publish regular content on your site. WordPress supports internal blogging, which means each new post is published under your primary domain name. This helps funnel all traffic to a central domain. Another idea to think about is review generation. User-generated content is about as valuable as it gets, so you should pursue reviews from satisfied customers (ethically, of course). But most of all, ongoing work is required on your website. You can’t pay for content, and then tell the marketer to go away. To succeed and sustain success, content marketing and management is an ongoing process. In summary, ongoing work supports content through: Recency Regularity Traffic
9 minutes | Nov 28, 2018
Can YouTube Videos Improve SEO?
For SEO experts, the saying ‘content is king” normally references text and images, but videos are actually the most engaging form of content available on the web. In fact, users watch over a billion hours of YouTube video per day. So it stands to reason why YouTube should be an essential part of every SEO strategy. After all, videos can be integrated on all kinds of SEO-friendly platforms, from your business website to your Instagram & Facebook brand pages. Even more intriguing is the direct affiliation between Google as a search engine, and YouTube videos as content. Performing search queries you’ll notice that YouTube videos often appear towards the top of search results. That means users will be exposed to video content without ever visiting YouTube directly. See the search results below for the query “bridal shop SEO” At Add Positions, making a video for the subject bridal shop SEO and uploading it to YouTube allowed us to secure the first spot on the video carousel for this term. As a small business owner, you too can take advantage of what YouTube has to offer from an SEO perspective. Depending on the industry to which you belong, certain keywords will produce video results on the top of the corresponding SERP. Like with other forms of SEO, the more competitive a keyword is, the more difficult it will be to rank on the video carousel. There’s certain techniques we recommend which allowed us to secure the ranking you see above, and which can translate to almost any niche. Through organic ranking, YouTube videos can also serve as a marketing funnel. Read through the rest of this blog post to find ways to improve SEO through YouTube video content. Optimize Your YouTube Video When you upload a video to YouTube, you have several areas through which to optimize it. The title is the most important. You want to include your primary keyword within the video title and can also add a secondary keyword. Next you’ll want to move to the description and provide a detailed summary of what the video entails. It’s also another opportunity to place your keyword for YouTube & Google to see. As you can see from our description, we also placed a link to the corresponding web page, on which this particular video is embedded. Finally, you’ll want to add tags which should again include your primary keyword as well as synonyms and LSI keywords. Videos on YouTube should avoid the same SEO pitfalls as traditional web content. Refrain from stuffing your title, description, or tags with keywords. Use them once and only once within each section. When writing your description, write it with the user in mind. Videos that are topical are far more likely to be consumed by relevant users, meaning they’ll watch the entire clip, and not exit it from it immediately. Make sure you video is set to public under “Visibility” on YouTube’s studio creator. If you follow each of these steps, you have a good chance to show up on the carousel for organic searches on Google. Keep in mind that keyword competition is critical. Embed Your YouTube Video There’s several channels where you can simply embed the YouTube video onto the page (WordPress being the most common). In other cases you can just post the link, but will want to make sure it displays properly after publication. For your main website, the first option is best which is to embed it within the page or blog post itself. To get the embed code for your video, you must navigate to the video and click on the button that says share. From there you will see several options including Embed, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Blogger, & Reddit. You will want to choose Embed, which will then prompt a screen that provides the necessary code. Copy the code from the embed screen and paste it within the WordPress page where you want the video to display. Now when users navigate to that page, they will see the video embedded within the content. You can select modifications that alter how your video is displayed once embedded. For example, you can choose to start the video at a certain timestamp and hide player controls, etc. The video’s SEO should align with the SEO for the page. For example, it would be nice for the H1 or H2 of the page to match the main keyword from the video, so that Google sees both entities as connected and relevant to one another. Try to establish that relevance. Distribute Your YouTube Video Most platforms allow you to link your YouTube video directly on the page. Facebook and Twitter, for example, allow for YouTube videos to be linked and integrated within posts and tweets. Instagram is a different story and require their videos to be 60 seconds or less. You’ll have to upload the video natively to Instagram, meaning the file itself will be uploaded, rather than simply linking or embedding the YouTube video link. To accomplish this you must know how to edit videos and trim them in a marketable fashion that highlights the most appealing 60 seconds. Add Positions provides this service. Videos should be distributed on these platforms: Facebook: Supports YouTube integration but also offers native video upload Instagram: Requires native video upload that is less than 60 seconds LinkedIn: See Facebook Twitter: See LinkedIn It’s not a bad idea to create different versions of the video for each platform, meaning Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram, all have unique variations. As we noted, Instagram does not allow for embedding YouTube clips. Even if you tried to post the link within your image caption, it would not be clickable, and thus be rendered virtually useless. If you need assistance with recording, editing, and posting videos on YouTube and other platforms, we provide a service that empowers you to do all of these things. We’ll even include your video content within our SEO services for your company. Like all content, video can be a major part of search rankings. For YouTube SEO services, call Add Positions today at 866-356-8198.
15 minutes | Nov 20, 2018
10 Ways to Improve Google Search Rankings for Contractors
Let’s discuss a topic that most every small business has interest in, which is how to improve Google search rankings. In 2019, the most effective way to generate business leads is through Google search. The business websites that rank the highest will acquire the most customers and so the goal of every company should be to pursue the top position. It’s important to be realistic however, since a number of factors determine whether or not a website will rank well. Add Positions is a digital marketing company that specializes in SEO for contractors. Below are 10 ways to improve Google search rankings for contractors in 2019 and beyond. 1) Google My Business Let’s be very clear about something, Google My Business has replaced traditional websites as the central hub of online marketing visibility. Consumers who have a pre-existing awareness of your brand, searching for its name on Google will no longer prompt them to go directly to your website. Instead, they will see what is known as your Google Homepage, which is a full spectrum profile of your business throughout the SERP, mostly stemming from your GMB profile. The better optimized GMB profiles will produce the most ideal Google homepages. A GMB profile should be: Accurate: Display the correct NAP information Branded: Show your company logo, and business description, with a verified address Optimized: Refined for search with proper categories, hours of operation, etc. Updated: Regularly used for Google posts and consumer notifications 2) Reviews Customer reviews are the modern day word of mouth. The difference is that today, word of mouth travels at the speed of your local WiFi connection. Both good and bad news travels fast, especially when it comes to contractors and their services. If we’re being honest with ourselves, bad news travels fastest. That’s why contractors should combat negativity by making it as convenient as possible for satisfied customers to leave reviews. This can be done through a website-integrated reviews widget, and by asking the customer in person upon service completion. It also helps to provide a business card with review platform links: Consider this: Ask in Person: Request a review after service completion Business Card: Provide business card with review platform links Website Reviews Widget: Install a reviews widget like Righteous Reviews 3) Content Quality There’s a saying in the SEO industry; content is king. The validity of this statement is questionable, but one thing isn’t; that content is extremely important to ranking well online. Google’s algorithms have gotten better at deciphering high quality content from its low quality counterpart. Google has even released quality guidelines for the public to review. There general principles follow the rule of common sense. For example, they state webmasters should make pages primarily for users and not search engines. They urge content creators to pose the question to themselves; does this content help my users? Here’s what defines quality content: Engagement: How engaged readers are Uniqueness: How original the content is Value: How relevant and helpful the content is 4) LSI: Keyword Synonyms The days of creating a standalone page for the sole purpose of ranking for a keyword are long gone. Today, Google purportedly determines the legitimacy of content by its usage of LSI keywords. For those who are not familiar with latent semantic indexing, the simplest way to describe it is synonym diversity. Instead of using the term tree trimming service 10 times within your content, you would use it only once, and then use synonyms to support that primary keyword. You might use the term arborist, tree treatment, and things like it. You can also use tools like lsigraph.com to help you identify LSI keywords for your target phrase. Focus on: Diversity: Language is better when it’s not redundant, but instead diverse Relevancy: A synonym implies the fundamental meaning of the term or phrase is similar Synonyms: Words have many different variations and explanations, which you should use 5) Schema Code Schema.org is a programming language that helps Google parcel data. In layman’s terms, schema helps Google better interpret your website and web pages, and subsequently market it to its users in a mutually beneficial manner. The goal of Google is to provide the most relevant results to its users, and the goal of contractors is to acquire the most relevant search traffic which has a greater chance to convert. Schema markup helps each party achieve their goal. Because it is a programming language involving microdata, professional assistance is strongly advised. Proper use of schema can enhance SERP results through the following: NAP Information: SERP extensions showing name, address, and phone number Review Snippets: SERP extensions showing aggregate 5 star review ratings Service Pages: SERP extensions showing links for individual service pages 6) Social Signals Some might think posting on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter is redundant. But it’s not a fruitless effort when you consider the idea of social signals. MOZ has listed social signals as one of their local ranking factors and it’d be foolish to ignore such a strong phenomenon in the internet sphere of influence. Since Google clearly favors brands, having signals originating from major platforms with high usage and activity can only help your overall SEO. While its precise influence on organic ranking is undetermined, there’s circumstantial incentive to pursue social media activity on the following platforms: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn Twitter YouTube 7) Location Data To excel online as a contractor, you must have a verified location. We touched on this briefly in the Google My Business section, but we’d like to further stress the importance of location verification for contractors. As a professional contractor you likely service multiple towns and cities, especially if your main location is outside of a major metropolitan area. The bad news is that the days of purchasing a virtual office have been eliminated. Google cracked down on this tactic as a way of prioritizing geographical legitimacy. It can be frustrating for a contractor who resides in a small town, but you have to find ways to work around it. At the very least, you must do the following: Analyze: Research where your largest client base is, and your current distance from them Optimize: Show identical location data on your website, GMB page, and elsewhere Verify: Ensure address verification on Google My Business 8) Blogging We noted the importance of content quality, but stopping there is not enough. The frequency of content production is also important. Yes, the quality must continue to maintain its standards, but you must have processes in place to continue publishing content. One of the best processes for that is blogging. Blog posts are a great way to keep fresh pages circulating on your website. This is especially true with WordPress-based websites, which count blog posts as actual pages on your domain, to be indexed by Google accordingly. The habit of blogging shows Google that your site is NOT static, and that it continues to produce relevant pages. Blog posts should be: Consistent: Follow a fixed schedule, and publish posts at least once per month Quality: Maintain the standard of quality outlined previously Relevant: Relate (at least loosely) to the subject matter of your main website 9) Video An underrated content medium is video. You can use video in a variety of ways. For instance, you can chop up video content and syndicate it through social media, websites, and extract the audio for podcast distribution. Google views videos in a positive light. This makes sense when considering the popularity of YouTube, and the amount of time the average American spends watching videos from that platform on a daily basis. Add Positions believes strongly in video content, as you can see by our embedded YouTube episode towards the top of this blog post. You as a contractor can also improve SEO with video content, with these methods: Distribution: Uploading videos to YouTube and other channels Production: Recording and editing videos, or having someone do it on your behalf Syndication: Circulating video content through websites and social media channels 10) Domain Authority MOZ has a metric known as DA or domain authority which measures the perceived trust of a website. It’s calculation is largely based on inbound links, both quality and quantity. Websites of a certain age, are more likely to have higher DA’s than brand new websites. The DA scale is 1-100 but at Add Positions, we’ve found that local contractors can do quite well by reaching the mid 20’s. In competitive markets, clients with DA’s 15 or below, are going to have a difficult time showing up for keywords on page one of Google, based on our extensive research. Some of the best ways to build DA are: Content Marketing: Producing blog posts and syndicating them on social media Inbound Linking: Earning links from external domains, but ones that a relevant to your industry Tenure: Being around for a long time, which tends to help you earn trust organically 11) Design & Coding (Bonus) One method of improving search ranking that cannot be overlooked is web design & coding. What happens behind the scenes can make just as much of a difference as what the user sees on their device screen. Google crawls and indexes websites using technology, and it’s far easier to crawl a cleanly coded website than one that is clunky and obtrusive. Furthermore, designs that are unique (non-templates) encourage Google crawler-bots to perceive them more favorably. Many contractors are under the false impression that their existing site is custom, when in fact, it is a $60 WordPress template that might look original, but has identical coding to other themes. Additional ranking factors that relate to design & coding include: Responsive Design Semantic Markup Site Speed Search Ranking Help for Contractors Add Positions works with contractors (and other industries) to create custom WordPress websites that are fully optimized for search engines. Our 250+ client base can vouch for our attention to detail and execution of best practice optimization. Not only will we design a unique website for your business, but we will implement all of the SEO strategies mentioned in this blog post. It’s important to understand that each of these components works better in concert, rather than as an exclusive entity. In other words, a website alone is not enough, nor is content alone, or SEO alone. Every business has different goals and aspirations, but one thing most every contractor has in common, is a desire for lead generation. The goal of Google optimization is lead acquisition. Anyone who says something different might have ulterior motives. Add Positions helps contractors reach their goal of lead generation by pursuing every channel available online. As a group of 15 digital marketing experts, each with a unique skill set, we can attend to the details that separates excellent websites from mediocre ones. Call 866-356-8198 today!
13 minutes | Nov 15, 2018
Why Don’t I Show up on Google Maps?
Everyone is trying to get into the top 3 Google Maps rankings, and for good reason. Listings within the local 3 pack appear directly on SERPs for relevant keywords, making them as good as a number one organic result, if not better. When businesses are losing out on quality leads, it’s usually because they aren’t showing up on Google Maps. There’s also often a correlation between traditional organic ranking, and Maps ranking. In these cases, they ask the question outright, why don’t I show up on Google Maps? Factors influencing your lack of presence include: Time / Tenure Reviews Design Content Social Media Other Reviews Ongoing Work Competition Yes, Google considers each of these factors when deciding where to rank a particular Map listing. Although they don’t explicitly outline their factors, research and studies suggest that the factors mentioned above are the most important. As a digital marketing company that has been working with clients for 8 years, we can confirm that these are in fact the primary considerations. Of course, SEO is always evolving, so Google may decide tomorrow to give more weight to a certain factor, or to delegitimize another. We’re constantly evaluating best practices. Time / Tenure Like is the case with domain age, time and tenure are a strong consideration for Google Maps listings. Older websites rank better in organic (generally) and older Maps listings follow suit. So how long you’ve had your Google My Business and Maps profile online will be part of the formula. So even if you have more reviews than an older listing, their tenure may indicate greater value, depending on the circumstances. If you don’t currently have a Google Maps listing, the time to create and optimize one is today. You should start the tenure clock ASAP. Reviews While it’s a misnomer that reviews are the only factor, they are certainly a strong one. When all things are equal, the listing with more reviews will almost always win out. Furthermore, the more reviews generated, the more people will click through your Maps listing, and the more customers you will convert. But this post in particular is about showing up on Maps in the first place. And make no mistake, review generation can help you achieve that goal. You can generate more reviews by integrating a website reviews widget and programming email & text reminders to customers after completing services. Try to avoid getting too many reviews in a short period of time. Google will think they’re fake, and might even take them down. Design The coding of your website shows direct correlation to your Maps placement. It helps Google parcel the data, and interpret your location information, website category, etc. Much of the things that are most influential in digital marketing occur behind the scenes. Remember, Google uses bots to crawl the contents of your website, and everything produced on a SERP is programmatic and algorithmic. We’ve found that clean coding with schema markup helps our clients rank on Google Maps, particularly in the local 3 pack — the most sought after Maps placement on the web. Content Google only knows you offer a particular service, if your website has a page of content for it. In other words, you might assume that you’d show up for a certain keyword because it’s obviously associated with your industry. But that’s not how this works. Google must be able to see that a page on that topic exists on your website, in order to credit you with the term on a Google Maps listing. This is especially true when competitors in your field are producing pages of content for each and every service they offer. Of course Google would give them credit for that over someone who fails to produce those pages themselves. Social Media Even social media is a factor for Google Maps rankings. Activity on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram send out signals to Google that your brand is visible in multiple outlets. These are all considered web properties, and they help build brand diversity, something Google strongly values when determining any kind of ranking, from Maps to traditional organic. For this reason, optimized profiles on the social media channels mentioned should be part of every strategy to rank on Google Maps. Other Reviews Google wants to see reviews from more than just their own platform; Google My Business. There’s many other platforms that exist on the web, and each of them send signals that your brand is relevant. Think about Yelp, which at one time was considered the most popular source of reviews on the internet. Others to think about include Facebook, BBB, Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, etc. The more reputable sources you can generate reviews, the better chance you have to rank in the local 3 pack. The good news is that most companies we deal with find it easier to get reviews from non-Google sources, and often already have many of them. Domain Authority DA is a metric developed by MOZ to estimate Google’s trust in a domain. While it should not be too heavily weighted, it is something to pay attention to nonetheless. Google is smarter than MOZ of course. Google knows its algorithm better than anybody else, so a 3rd party metric could be rendered obsolete at any moment. With all that being said, inbound links, which are the driving force behind DA, are still a factor in Google Maps rankings. After all, a link is essentially a vote of confidence from one domain to another. The more votes you receive (from trustworthy sources), the more trust you earn. Ongoing Work Stagnation is a quick way to lower your Maps ranking, which means it should be avoided at all costs. You need regular work on your website and Google My Business profile to stay relevant. That means regular Google posts as well as ongoing website work like blog posts, page updates, and coding fixes, is imperative to sustain relevance in your market. Google pays mind to each of these things and it will be reflected through fluctuations in your Maps rankings. Competition Like other forms of SEO, Google Maps rankings are a relative concept. If you are the only business of your kind in a particular geographic area, you may well show up on Maps by default. This assumes of course that you at least have an active My Business profile and Maps listing. Conversely, if you are in a highly competitive market, you might be doing all the things mentioned in this article, and still not appearing in the top 3. In cases like these, only relentlessness and consistency will help you eventually surpass those entrenched ahead of you.
17 minutes | Nov 7, 2018
How To Get More Google Reviews (Podcast)
As a top digital marketing company, Add Positions is asked one question more frequently than any other. “How can I get more Google Reviews?” Our services are tailored to small businesses, so you can imagine why prospective clients would ask this highly relevant question. One thing is for certain, Google Reviews are a valuable digital currency for small business owners. Whether reviews are coming from repeat customers or first-timers, their endorsement counts just the same. Here’s some statistical evidence to back up this premise: 97% of consumers look for local businesses online 85% of consumers trust reviews as much as a personal recommendation With this in mind, it’s safe to say that word of mouth still exists, and holds weight, but that it now travels at the speed of your nearest Wifi connection. Because Google is central hub of digital information, a review on this platform is the most coveted piece of user-generated content 5 Steps to Google Reviews Success Ask in person The most organic way to build reviews is to ask in person after completing your service. This might not be you personally, but someone who works for you. The key to generating the review is to be sincere and ask the satisfied customer to provide feedback online. You can provide them with a informational 3×5 business card that instructs them how to provide the review online. If you are an Add Positions client, you’ll have a review button on the website, which makes the process simpler for your customers to follow. Common sense is underrated. And while Google has prohibited the practice of review gating, which is manipulative software that discourages bad reviews and encourages good ones, being selective about who you ask is perfectly legitimate. If you served a customer who behaved rudely and belittled you verbally, just use your common sense and don’t ask them for a review or give them the 3×5 business card that explains how to do so. They might leave one anyway, but there’s no reason to encourage it. Text & Email Asking in person is often step one of a longer process. While people appreciate the sincerity of your request, and often agree to leave the requested review, actually doing it is another story. They sometimes forget to do it once you leave, or simply put it out of their mind while they are binging a Neflix series or playing World of Warcraft. It doesn’t mean they refuse to help you, it just means their priorities place a higher value on activities other than leaving a review. In cases like these (which if being honest is most of them) the customer needs a friendly reminder. This is where text and email comes into play. After leaving your job you should have gathered your customers phone number and email address. Using an automated system like Righteous Reviews (included in your Add Positions plan) the customer will receive a text and email reminder that has a convenient direct link to the review platform. So let’s say they are busy watching Netflix and get a text on their phone reminding them to leave the feedback. They say “Fine”, click the link, and leave a 5 star review. Remember; fine, click, 5 star. Follow Up Phone Call So let’s say you asked in person, sent the text and email reminders, and still don’t receive the review. Someone in your office can place a follow up phone call to remind them one final time. If they still don’t leave a review after the second reminder, it’s best to move on to the next customer. At a certain point it begins to get annoying, and the person might flip a switch and leave you a 1 star review. So remember, this will be their second and final reminder. You should once again exercise common sense with these follow up calls. If the person seems like they are a recommendation away from exploding and cussing you out, just move on. However if the person was nice and behaved appropriately throughout the previous parts of this process, this reminder could be the one that finally gets the review published on Google which becomes user generated content for your online brand. “Free Advice” Reviews Looking for a tip that could get you hundreds of additional reviews without cheating? Well Add Positions has it and it’s called “Free Advice” reviews. If you are the type of business that fields calls about services you don’t provide or for informational purposes only, you can ask for a review for helping the person find what they are looking for. For example, an HVAC contractor might get asked a really basic question about repairing an AC. If you give the advice, you can then ask the person to leave you a review saying you gave advice, even though they aren’t paying. An example we can give from first hand experience comes from a client we had who fielded calls related to his industry, but not something that his services handled. He is a very nice person, so he pointed them to the proper service that could help them solve their problem. He took our advice and started asking for reviews, and earned hundreds of additional reviews within weeks. Not only does this help you generate more Google reviews, but it makes the person remember you the next time they need your services. You’ve now established a rapport that can payoff long-term. Hire a Marketing Company The final way to generate more reviews on Google is by hiring a marketing company. We spoke about Add Positions’ marketing plan and how it includes tools like Righteous Reviews which will help you earn more Google feedback. This widget is integrated onto your company website and will automate the text/email reminders spoken of above. Aside from these tools, organic SEO in of itself will help you get more testimonials from the simple process of getting more leads and customers. Add Positions is a top digital marketing company serving small businesses throughout the entire United States of America. We handle everything from organic SEO to paid advertising campaigns. We are hopeful you’ve found this podcast and corresponding blog post to be informative and will utilize it in your daily practice to get more reviews from Google. All of these recommendations are intended to be white hat, and to not cross any ethical lines.
12 minutes | Nov 2, 2018
SEO Brand Marketing (Podcast)
What is SEO Brand Marketing SEO brand marketing is the process of branding your business through search engine optimization. When properly executed, SEO branding appeals to both Google and its users. Google entities like Google My Business and Google Maps, along with consistent NAP information throughout your website and other business directories, helps build your online brand. Components of your SEO brand include: Google My Business Google Maps NAP Citations Official Website Forget About Traditional “Branding” Unless you are Nike, Coca Cola, or some other massive national institution, you need not worry about branding in its traditional sense. The idea that you want to evoke a family friendly website or something of that nature is not tangible. Google grades your online presence based on verifiable metrics, not some idea or perception of your company. So as a local business, forget about traditional branding for now, and focus on your Google brand, which is what will bring you clicks to your website, and help you make money. Traditional branding concepts include: Aesthetics Ethos Persona Style Sure, Michael Jordan starring in a Nike commercial gave it great persona, but a local business website doesn’t need to reach that scale of people. Furthermore, Nike commercials aired on national television and whoever was watching was going to see it. With local SEO, users have much more control over what they see. Furthermore, outlets that forced consumers into visualizing brands have become mostly obsolete. Consumers have cut cords and ditched radio stations for podcasts. Google is now your #1 branding platform, and the concept of brand has evolved because of it. Elements of Your Google Brand Google sees your brand as a series of web entities and monitors the consistency of activity on each of them. When someone does a branded search for your business on Google (a query of your exact company name), the produced SERP should be filled with information about your company. It should appear in the knowledge panel, the first organic result, and on Google Maps. Other organic results should include social media pages. In summery, elements of your Google brand include: Google Maps Knowledge Panel Organic Results Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) One thing Google affiliation does for your brand is build trust. Whether it’s a Maps listing, Knowledge Panel, or an enhanced SERP result, the idea of Google promoting your business is powerful. But not just because of the existential concepts we discussed previously (aesthetics, ethics, etc.) but more so for visibility alone. On Google, your brand is as appealing as your ranking, and that’s how you should think about it moving forward. Use Digital Platforms Like Google, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter To Execute SEO Branding for Businesses Other Forms of Branding There’s some old school brand tactics that still make sense for local businesses. Let’s take truck wraps for example. If you are a plumber, roofer, HVAC contractor, arborist, or any kind’ve contractor, it’s not obsolete to invest in a car wrap. Business cards are also valuable, especially if they have links to your review platforms. The same is true of company logo’s, which in our case, we both design and enhance on behalf of our clients, thanks to our A+ graphic design team. In summary, other forms of branding include: Business Card Prints Logo Design Logo Enhancement Truck Wrap Design The idea is that some forms of on-the-ground branding are still applicable in today’s digital age. But keep in mind, each of them will still incorporate modern concepts. Business cards should have links to leave Google and Facebook reviews of your company. Logos should be designed and optimized for web use. Truck wraps should have not only your logo and NAP information, but a link to your company website, so that interested people can see you and your services in a digital format and make a decision then. Scaling Your Brand Once you reach success through the means discussed in this post, a transition to traditional branding is not out of the question. Keep in mind though that as a local business, you aren’t competing with Nike and Coca Cola, but are competing with lesser known entities. in today’s market the best way to become more well known is through Google search. Once you build consistent traffic, you can begin to implement certain ideas about how you want your brand to be perceived, in a more traditional sense. It can include: Ethics Morals Philosophies So what are your business ethics? Do you want to be perceived as the mom & pop shop down the street, or someone who sells higher end products? What are your morals? Do you strive to portray a family-friendly business, or do you simply not care about having any kind of class or perception? What is your philosophy? Do you want to help consumers find solutions, or do you want to squeeze the last dollars out of hard working Americans? These are all questions you have to ask and answer when scaling your brand. And we can help. SEO Brand Marketing Company If you need help branding yourself for Google, Add Positions can help. As a digital marketing company that has worked with countless small businesses and helped them achieve the ultimate success through Google organic search. We know what Google looks for when grading you business and “brand.” They want to see a high quality custom website along with several branded web properties like Google My Business, Facebook, and Instagram, to name a few. The combine impact of signals from each platform is modern branding in its purest form. Most companies will sell you some kind of brand package that is not to be trusted. The reality of branding is outlined in this blog post, podcast, and corresponding video. Don’t be fooled by slick talking marketing experts who are propagating delusions of grandeur. Choosing a marketing agency can be stressful. The best advice is to go with a group that you feel comfortable with. When in doubt, side with marketers who are transparent and willing to tell the whole truth about what it takes to succeed online in 2019 and beyond. Call 866-356-8198 to for brand SEO services.
18 minutes | Oct 24, 2018
Google Home Page (Podcast)
What is Your Google Homepage? When a user performs a branded search of a well optimized business on Google, they are exposed to what is known as your “Google home page.” The Google home page consists of the knowledge graph (the right sidebar), along with organic results of your website, and citations on other platforms, each with schema-enabled review snippets. As a first impression to your potential customers online, it is critical to have an engaging “GHP” Knowledge Panel: The right sidebar that displays your GMB info Mapping: A placement on Google Maps My Business: A well optimized My Business page Review Snippets: Organic results with schema-enabled reviews snippets Google is the central headquarters of every online presence. Not only is it the first place users look when studying a business, but it also pulls information from the most relevant sources outside of Google itself. For example, Better Business Bureau, Yelp, and Facebook are all trusted platforms, and the aggregate star ratings of each (for a given company) can be seen on the first page of the Google search results for that brand search. Knowledge Panel After a potential consumer executes a branded search, one element you want on your Google Home Page is the Knowledge Panel. This panel appears on the right hand side of the SERP. The information within the box helps users learn more about your business. While plenty of misinformation exists about the panel, and what it actually is or is not, Google has published the accurate information for public consumption. For a visual look at the panel, see below: The knowledge panel really prompts engagement for your Google home page. When people see the logo and contact information on the right, they immediately gain trust in your business. The example above highlights a national company, but make no mistake, this applies to local businesses like your own. In fact, it’s one of the most common ways local searchers connect with new businesses, especially when browsing the web via mobile device. Mapping Searches today are relative to location. If a local consumer in the Fort Worth, TX area were looking for digital marketing, they’d see our Maps listing. That’s because we implement all the steps necessary to earn that local Maps ranking. The same should be true of your company for local searches using relevant keywords. This assumes that you’re utilizing geo-coordinates, and have claimed your Google My Business page and verified its address. Your Maps listing should look like this: Keep in mind that the example of mind shows a local 3 pack Maps listing. These are the top 3 Maps listings for the particular keyword in a particular area. It will of course vary by the location of the searcher. Another thing to remember is that even if your listing is not featured on the local 3 pack, it still likely exists as a Maps listing . Most users never look beyond the top 3 however, so it’s really important to get on there to have success in your local market. Google My Business GMB is the central hub of your Google home page, and your local online presence in general. Without Google My Business, neither your knowledge panel nor your Maps listing will ever show up. The result is that the majority of your Google home page ceases to exist. For these reasons, it’s critical to claim, optimize, and verify your Google My Business page. This YouTube video by Google explains the process: Some local companies like to claim the business themselves, others hire marketing agencies to do so on their behalf. In either case, it’s paramount that it gets done. Google is not always forthcoming about their algorithms and ranking factors, but you must give them credit for giving detailed explanations about how to get your GMB page set up. The importance of this cannot be understated. Review Snippets Enhanced search results stand out among the crowd. As a user, you are more likely to click a result that has enhanced features like review snippets. These snippets appear as aggregate star ratings of your business. To have them shown, you must implement schema.org on your website, something that requires some knowledge of coding to master. The results are often significant. The CTR on results with enhanced features is considerably higher than their counterparts. Take a look at a review snippet: Sites like Amazon and other eCommerce based platforms often appear for review snippets, but any business can with the right schema code. Your home page itself won’t appear, but interior pages that go for niche keywords very well may. The key is to properly utilize schema.org microdata to ensure that Google properly crawls and indexes your page. An enhanced SERP result can improve your CTR, and end up boosting your organic ranking even higher. Add Positions is happy to help you incorporate these on your site.
21 minutes | Oct 18, 2018
Marketing Funnels (Podcast)
What is a Funnel? A funnel is medium through which a consumer becomes a client. The term itself has increased in popularity recently, but the concept has been around since the inception of online marketing. Examples of common digital marketing funnels include: Email Dripping Organic Search Results PPC Advertisements Review Platforms Social Media Channels Creating Interest in Your Business Anything that grabs a consumers attention is part of the funneling process. This can include blog posts, infographics, social posts, videos, and just about any kind of marketable content you could imagine. These are all linkable and shareable content pieces, and can each go viral under the right circumstances. Infographics are educational, and therefore are often linked to from other domains who want to showcase statistical data. This allows you to establish a funnel from an external domain, leading back to your own. In summary, content that can generate interest includes: Blog Posts Infographics Social Posts Videos Some of these ideas might seem simple, and, for the most part, they are. Funneling is not a particularity complicated task, although its recent ascendance into popular vernacular has skewed its intended meaning. If you’ve been utilizing proper SEO marketing, there’s no reason for the fad to consume your attention. Why? Because proficient search engine optimization is a form of funneling. Any marketer who attempts to dissuade you from this premise, has financial incentives at their root interests. Don’t be fooled by the latest jargon from new-age marketers. Funnel Flaws The modern iteration of funnels is inherently flawed. A successful marketing campaign involves a wide range of services, which when properly implemented, encourages Google to grade your business favorably. Today, funnel systems often conflict with this very infrastructure. Too often, funneling focuses on a single avenue, such as PPC advertising, which alone will not produce a desirable or sustainable result, at least in the aggregate. Flaws in the modern funneling system include: Misinformation Repackaged Concept Singular Focus Vague Explanation Funneling has become a buzzword in the marketing industry and one that often misleads the consumer. There’s scare tactics used by modern marketers who claim that anyone not using funneling is doomed for failure. The reality however is that most websites are using funneling in some form — at least the moderately successful ones. The truth is that every small business needs traffic sources and an online presence that is conducive to lead generation. Whether that is called funneling or something else, ultimately has no bearing on how well or poorly it performs. Email Drips There was a time where automated email responses were frowned upon in the marketing community. That time was as only a few years ago. Automated emailing got so bad that a mandate was exercised to include opt-out links in every outbound email. This way, spam-like messages could easily be blocked for good, as the user would be put on a do-not-mail list after clicking the opt-out link. With the emergence of funnels as a term, email dripping has suddenly become accepted once again. Components of an email drip campaign include: Automation: Messages that are pre-written Timing: Messages are sent at a defined time Responsiveness: Messages can vary depending on a user’s action If you’ve ever signed up for a marketing guide or newsletter, you’ve more than likely been exposed to an email drip campaign. The messages might’ve seemed oddly relevant to your recent internet behavior. That’s no coincidence. The whole idea of email dripping is to specify the user’s current point in the sales process. Messages are crafted to move you along the process, step by step. Funnels as they are known today will almost certainly offer email automation as part of their service. Once again, it won’t matter without a foundation of strong SEO. Are Funnels a Get Rich Quick Scheme? Funnels are conceptually legitimate, but the way the are marketed and executed are sometimes sketchy. Forgoing website design, SEO, and content marketing with the hopes of raking in leads for your business is not only unrealistic, it is foolish. So while funneling is not a scheme, the way some consumers perceive it is less than 100% accurate. There’s some delusions of grandeur that have become associated with the term and that’s not good for marketing as an industry, which most every business requires at some point. Investing in quality marketing services will ensure that all of your traffic and sales sources are optimized. The absence of this would eliminate a service’s quality. So if your SEO company doesn’t use the concepts presented in funnels, it’s simply not high quality. Bear in mind however, that sometimes marketing firms will not call what they do, funneling, but it works just the same, if not better. The harsh reality is that some of the newer forms of marketing buzzwords are destructive to local businesses and eliminate all nuance from a complex process. Help With Sales Funnels Add Positions is equipped to handle the funnels process on your behalf. With members on staff who handle web design, search engine optimization, social media and more, we can start directing traffic to your money site from a wide range of different angles. As a group of 15 marketers who perform all funneling in-house, we have a distinct advantage over companies that are hustling you out of your hard earned check. Our funnel process is legitimate. We don’t like to use misleading terminology because we run our business based on ethics and with an understanding of our clients’ needs. We hope you enjoy listening to the podcast by pressing the play button below or by clicking on the YouTube video at the top of this page. We ask that you like the YouTube video if you enjoy its content, and that you subscribe to our podcast on your favorite podcast platform. If you require immediate help with sales funnels, we are happy to take your call right now. Give us a ring at 866-356-8198 and tell us you listened to the funnels podcast and are hoping to learn more.
38 minutes | Oct 5, 2018
Avoiding SEO Scams (Podcast)
SEO scams can be frustrating for business owners. But how can you avoid getting involved in one in the first place? Nolen & Jason will discuss the red flags that could indicate schemes and scams in an SEO service. In today’s episode, the Webmasters guide prospective clients through a checklist of what to look out for moving forward.